Monday, February 15, 2010



My notes tell me that I have seen
a thousand geese this fall. Every one of these
in the course of their epic journey from
the arctic to the gulf has on one occasion or
another probably served man in some equivalent
of paid entertainment.
One flock perhaps has thrilled a score of
schoolboys, and sent them scurrying home
with tales of high adventure.
Another, passing overhead of a dark night,
has serenaded a whole city with goose music,
and awakened who knows what questionings
and memories and hopes.
A third perhaps has given pause to
some farmer at his plow, and brought new
thoughts of far lands and journeyings and peoples,
where before was only drudgery, barren
of any thought at all.
I am sure those thousand geese are paying
human dividends on a dollar value.
Worth in dollars is only an exchange value,
like the sale value of a painting or the
copyright of a poem.
What about the replacement value?
Supposing there were no longer any painting,
or poetry, or goose music?
It is a black thought to dwell upon,
but it must be answered.
In dire necessity somebody might write
another Illiad, or paint an "Angelus,"
but fashion a goose?
"I, the Lord, will answer them.
The hand of the Lord hath done this,
and the Holy One of Israel created it."
Aldo Leopold
Sand County Almanac

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